I didn't do much preview of the Kent State-Kansas State game, nor did I want to by virtue of watching them try to rally at home to Louisiana and not doing so well. So when they traveled to Manhattan, I figured if they can't put up more than 12 points to a Sun Belt team, what chance do they have against the Big XII?
37-0 was a little worse than I had imagined. And I didn't even look at Kansas State's first game: a 10-7 win to ... Eastern Kentucky. And that was a come-from-behind victory in the final two minutes. Oh, brother.
What we can infer from the "to 7" is that the Wildcats had a pretty stout defense. They only gave up 129 yards to a decent but not great FCS team then also held Kent state under 200. So the goose egg seems fitting if still disappointing. But where did the 37 points come from? Four touchdowns (one an INT return) and three field goals seems like way too much for a defense that really caused fits for everybody they faced. Maybe the 10 points against EKU was an aberration.
Darrell Hazell, as is the case with most coaches, is not Jesus. He cannot work miracles on a team that already had an offensive identity crisis for the last 10 years.
Their game plan was to run the ball more, and they did: 34 run, 25 pass. But while the positive numbers weren't great (3.3 yards/rush), they were only tackled for a loss twice (discounting the sacks). If this is going to be their identify going forward, then I'm all for it, because the alternative isn't working (Spencer Keith and his receivers just look lost right now). Maybe Kansas State wasn't the best time to try and win conservatively. The upstart and curious South Alabama might be a better test of this next week.
We can't write off KSU just because they're 0-3, since none of those games were conference-based. They can get better if Hazell can figure out how to wear down a defensive line. Their own D-line is capable enough of slowing down a MAC offense. But this might be such a rough season even Akron may seem in an enviable position.